Create an inviting environment for people with hearing loss.
Hearing loss is incredibly common in the U.S., affecting more than 48 million Americans. If you or someone you care about experiences hearing loss, you may be interested in ways to make your home more hearing loss-friendly. These helpful suggestions can help you create an inviting atmosphere for guests with hearing loss, or further improve your own home life experiences:
- Consider an open floor plan
- Reduce and eliminate background noises
- Use lighting and color to design well-lit spaces
- Investigate hearing loss technology for the home
- Use light or vibrating door and safety alerts
Learn more about each of these tips on how to make your house hearing loss-friendly below.
Consider an open floor plan
If you’re starting a renovation, moving or planning a new build, consider the layout of your space for communication. Open floor plans not only help give your home a more spacious feel, but they also can make it easier for some people with hearing loss to see visual cues such as facial expressions, or to be able to potentially read lips from different areas of the house. You don’t need to remodel your existing home, however, to create open spaces. Simply reposition furniture or re-locate tall elements that may block sight lines, such as large lamps or broad floor plants, to create more open spaces in your existing home. The improved sight lines will help guests with hearing loss to better see people who are speaking.
Reduce and eliminate background noises
Background noises can get in the way of an enjoyable conversation. Finding ways to reduce or eliminate these sounds in your home can help make communication easier for people with hearing loss. When possible, make sure appliances, TV sets, radios, or electric fans are turned off during your conversations. Dual pane windows, insulation, and heavy draperies can offer protection from exterior noises like lawnmowers, snowblowers, and traffic. Meanwhile, sound-dampening carpets, acoustic ceiling and wall panels, and soft and plush furnishings can also help absorb sounds indoors. Lastly, choosing quieter household appliances like dishwashers or washing machines is another hint for keeping background sounds in your home at bay.
Use lighting and color to design well-lit spaces
Well-lit spaces that promote visual acuity can make it easier for those who choose to lip-read or use other nonverbal cues. To ensure your home is comfortably illuminated, consider incorporating a layered lighting strategy in gathering spaces. The first layer is ambient lighting like recessed lighting, chandeliers, or a ceiling fan with a light, and it serves as the foundation. Then, layer task lighting like pendant lights, floor lamps, and coffee table lamps to minimize glares and shadows in the room. The final – and optional – layer is accent lighting, such as sconces and uplights, which helps complete the overall illumination of your space. Additionally, pattern-free color schemes throughout your home in solid, neutral hues can also make conversation partners stand out more clearly.
Investigate hearing loss technology for the home
There are many helpful assistive listening devices available that can make your house more hearing loss-friendly, including:
- CapTel captioned telephones provide captions of everything callers say to help you catch every word over the phone
- Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) help to amplify sounds in your home environment
- Vibrating or flashing alarm clocks to help wake you up
- Phone signalers that flash a light or have an amplified ringer when there is an incoming call
- Appliances with special features that can vibrate, blink, flash lights or send alerts to your smartphone
Use light or vibrating door and safety alerts
Using vibration or light-based door and safety alert systems is another way to make your house hearing loss-friendly. Classic “ringing” doorbells can be replaced with door lights that flash whenever a visitor arrives. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can also be swapped for specially designed models that flash strobe lights or vibrate during emergencies. These products can help make it easier for everyone to receive important alerts in your home. Learn more about preparing for emergencies with these disaster preparation tips for people with hearing loss on our blog.
If you’re looking for information on how to make your house hearing loss-friendly, we hope these practical hints will come in handy as you work to create an inviting and comfortable space for all.
For more articles on hearing loss, head to our blog. To learn more about how CapTel captioning technology for hearing loss can help you stay connected to friends and family over the phone, reach out online, or call 800.233.9130 today.